He was a Border Patrol agent. What he saw gave him nightmares.

How the job “can cause you to bottle up compassion or internalize violence.”

Francisco Cantú never thought he would become a US Border Patrol agent.

The grandson of a Mexican immigrant, Cantú had been studying international relations in college, but became “tired of reading about the border in books” and wanted to see the realities of border life for himself. So in 2008, he went to Arizona to enlist in the US Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Academy.

During his four years as a Border Patrol agent, Cantú sent men, women, and children trying to cross the American border back to Mexico. He spoke with people whose loved ones had been injured or killed during the treacherous journey, saw the desperation of those who sought work and a better life, and witnessed young girls being stopped from entering the US to reunite with their mothers.

As the years went on, he was tormented by nightmares. “A huge part is conditioning you to accept all these violent or traumatic things that can be part of the job, and to see that as part of your day-to-day work,” Cantú said.

In The Line Becomes a River, Cantú shares his experience working for four years as a Border Patrol agent, exploring how immigration statistics “[do] little to account for all the ways that violence rips and ripples through a society, through the lives and minds of its inhabitants.”

But over the last week, Cantú has come under fire as he promotes the book’s publication. Some critics argue that his book humanizes Border Patrol agents, and activists in San Francisco have called for his book reading to be canceled. An NPR headline — the “Border Patrol Does Good Work” — was “particularly damaging,” Cantú said in a statement. Instead, he said …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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